How to Avoid Fraud and Scams After a Disaster
Criminals and fraudsters often see disasters as an opportunity to take advantage of victims when they are the most vulnerable, as well as the generous taxpayers who want to help with relief efforts. These disaster scams normally start with unsolicited contact. The scammer contacts their possible victim by telephone, social media, email or in-person. Also, taxpayers might search for a charity online and be directed to a website or social media page that is not affiliated with the actual charity.
Donors should not give out personal financial information to anyone who solicits a contribution. This includes things like Social Security numbers or credit card and bank account numbers and passwords.
The Tax Exempt Organization Search (https://www.irs.gov/charit.../tax-exempt-organization-search) helps users find or verify qualified charities. Taxpayers should always contribute by check or credit card to have a record of the tax-deductible donation if they choose to give money.